Water Polo

Photo Gallery

Sport Overview

Water polo may seem a little like soccer played with hands in a pool, but this sport has a ferocious nature. Teams of seven athletes a side (six in the field, one goalie) contest four eight-minute quarters without touching the sides or bottom of the pool. The players’ strength and endurance is remarkable and on display perhaps most impressively during an eggbeater, a powerful leg-kick technique that can lift the athlete high out of the water to defend or attempt a shot on net.

The men’s and women’s water polo events at the Guadalajara 2011 Pan Am Games netted (no pun intended) the same podium results: the U.S. won both events, Canada took home two silvers and Brazil captured two bronzes.

Canada has won medals in every water polo event since the 1999 Pan Am Games in Winnipeg.


History has shown that the sport of aquatics had an early start; Egyptian hieroglyphics discovered from the Stone Age showed people swimming. Around 400 BC, records showed Egyptians and Romans diving off cliffs. It did not become an organized sport, however, until the early 19th century in Great Britain.

At the TORONTO 2015 Games, the sport of aquatics includes the five disciplines of diving, open-water swimming, swimming, synchronized swimming and water polo.

How it works

In water polo competition, two seven-person teams (six field players and a goalie) try to throw the ball, weighing about a pound (400 to 450 grams), into the opponent’s goal. A game consists of four eight-minute periods and during play, athletes cannot touch the pool bottom or sides.


The method used by a player to swim with the ball.

A powerful leg kick technique used to vertically lift the athlete out of the water.

The area in front of the goal.

At the start of each quarter, each team lines up at their own goal line and at the sound of the referee’s whistle, the two players closest to the referee sprint to the ball.

Strong side
The side of the pool where the ball is located.

Weak side
The side of the where the ball is not located.

Additional Information

Additional Information